The Journey to Dating Success

February 18th, 2014 by Will Legend 6 Comments

The Journey

There’s no such thing as an overnight success. It’s a big myth. And anyone who tells you otherwise is delusional.

Consider FedEx. You’ve probably heard of them.

In 1965, Fred Smith came up with a concept for an express delivery system while studying at Yale, and in 1971, he founded FedEx. The company started operations in 1973, and during the first 26 months of operations, lost nearly $30 million. One night, after being turned down for capital, Fred impulsively flew to Vegas and won $27,000 playing blackjack, which he used to meet payroll the following Monday.

The company was losing a million dollars a month, yet they continued to grind it out. In 1978, they became a publicly traded company, and in 1983, revenues topped over $1 billion. And in 2013, revenues totaled nearly $45 billion!

This article isn’t a history lesson about one of the most successful delivery services in the world. The point of the FedEx story is that it takes time – often years and years – to find success. This applies to all of life’s endeavors. And this absolutely applies when it comes to getting better with women.

Experience is knowledge, and knowledge is power

We can read all of the dating theory in the world, but without going into the world and practicing, it doesn’t mean much. Books and articles are merely a guide; there’s no substitute for experience, which is rightfully known as the “father of learning.” It’s simple to soak in theory; and we can go on for hours and hours reading useful ideas. But if we’re not applying the theory in real life, then it’s just as simple to forget the ideas we’ve picked up.

Real life experiences make ideas stick. As cliché as it sounds, we must go out and face rejection over and over again. Only then will we start analyzing why we failed. And eventually, we’ll stop making the same mistakes. It’s quite extraordinary how the mind works – when you fail, you (sometimes subconsciously) take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again. And when we stay stuck in our comfort zones, the gears in our mind slow down and we get complacent.

Look at it this way – imagine that improving your dating skills is analogous to losing weight. Say your goal is to lose twenty pounds. If you’re a beginner, you may start off by reading about how to lose weight. Perhaps you read about nutrition and diet. Perhaps you read about exercise routines. Cool, but are you actually losing weight absorbing all of that knowledge? Probably not.

I’m not discounting that information – it’s useful to know – but it doesn’t mean anything unless you put that knowledge into use and actually start eating the right foods and exercising on a regular basis.

Also, anyone who has lost a significant amount of weight will tell you that it doesn’t happen overnight. Chances are you won’t see results on day one (or even day twenty), but just continuing to work at it will yield noticeable results over time. Once you’ve lost those initial couple of pounds, you have the momentum to continue losing weight.

The same goes for dating and being social. Once you’re out there and start to get tangible results, it becomes easier and easier. Some days, you’ll feel like you’ve hit a plateau. Other days, you’ll set a new personal record. The problem is that some guys initially fail and get so discouraged that they stop. The ones who rise to the top are those who continue to put the effort in – while figuring out what works and what doesn’t work.

Repetition is key (“Confidence is key”)

According to author Malcolm Gladwell, it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a specific field. To get that number, he looked at many case studies. In one particular study, psychologists in Berlin conducted a research on child violinists.

These child violinists all started around the age of five, and practiced for roughly the same amount of hours until around the age of eight. Then practice patterns started to diverge, and those who grew up to be elite performers averaged over 10,000 hours of practice from age eight to twenty, while those who were less able performers only averaged around 4,000 hours of practice from age eight to twenty.

Even though the “10,000-Hour Rule” has been widely discussed and disputed, we can all agree that we have to devote serious amounts of time if we want to succeed at anything that requires us to use our cognitive abilities.

Think about a professional soccer player. These players have the confidence to pull off tricks or moves because they’ve practiced each individual move hundreds, even thousands, of times. In real game situations, they don’t think twice about executing the move. They just do it. It’s second nature. It’s basically a reflex.

That’s why, to me, “confidence” is not a mystical quality that only certain people possess. It’s also not faking feelings of assuredness. Or acting macho. Faking and acting are temporary fixes, and it’s not actually confidence. Confidence is quite simple – it’s repetition. It’s doing something hundreds or thousands of times so that it becomes second nature.

Dating and meeting women is the same. It’s repetition, just like practicing the violin or perfecting soccer moves. You won’t be confident after practicing just once or twice. It takes serious time, and not necessarily 10,000 hours of practice. You just need consistency. Anyone who’s played instruments or sports knows that you get rusty when you don’t practice on a consistent basis.

And most importantly, you need to have fun. No one practices the violin for 10,000 hours if they’re not enjoying it. No one plays soccer for 10,000 hours if it’s not fun. Yes, meeting women can be nerve-wracking, but logically, it shouldn’t cause more anxiety than playing soccer in front of 100,000 diehard fans. Just relax, and enjoy yourself.

As a kid, I was always impatient. I wanted to be the best at something, and I wanted it right away. But one of the most important things I’ve learned as an adult is that success doesn’t happen overnight.

Success is the culmination of repeating a task countless times. It’s not letting failure prevent you from doing something again. And it’s not stopping once you’ve mastered a task. There’s always room to grow, so go out there and start doing!

Will Legend is a dating columnist and the founder of DecodeHer.

Liked this article? Check out his website and learn about what women really want. For 4 free videos on the hottest dating and sex topics, click here.

  1. Will Legend on February 18, 2014

    Thanks for posting this article, Nick.

    If you guys have any thoughts, please leave a comment here!

  2. Mark on February 19, 2014

    This artcle is absolutely true. And you touched on this in your article. I just think that its important …. really really important to emphasize the process over the product. In other words. If your going to put in all the time it takes to get good a dating you have to forget about the goal and learn to really truly enjoy the process. Or to be even more specific, enjoy talking and getting to know women. Since after all that’s what dating is all about. No guy who is only interested in sex will ever be as good at dating as a guy who truly enjoys the process of communicating and connecting with women as individuals. This is even more true for dating because its such a competitive activity. To successfully date you have to do it better than the other guys a woman knows. If you truly enjoy the process you are already ahead of 90% of the guys out there. Once you enjoy the process it is no longer work. Once you enjoy the process women can tell you are different and more fun to date. Women love men! They are desperate to find guys who appreciate them as people and are not constantly just looking for sex. If all you want is sex that’s OK. There are also lots of women who want the same thing, and there is nothing wrong with that. But please just be honest and up front about your intentions. If you pretend to want more than sex when you don’t you hurt our reputation as men and, more importantly, you hurt the woman you are not being honest with. Once you are honest and enjoy the process those 10,000 hours become something you will love to do. After all … spending thousands of hours with many beautiful women is a lot more fun than playing the violin. Isn’t it?

    • Will Legend on February 20, 2014

      Absolutely agree with you, Mark. As I kinda said in the article, it’s all about effort. Effort gets you improvements, and with improvements, you suddenly realize, “Wow, I’m actually getting good at this,” and with that, you start being passionate about something and continue to put in the effort. And really, the only way to put in that type of effort is if you actually like what you’re doing.

  3. Goundy on February 19, 2014

    Couldn’t agree more. In a ‘magic pill’ society where every solution can be bought for $19.95 off your credit card, it’s just so hard for people grasp the concept of steady incramental process – especially when it comes to success with women.

    I think teaching dating/cold approach can be difficult because it’s impossible to mass market a paleatable solution that involves some simple 10 step prossess that leads to instant gratification for the student. I’m sure you also have lots of people emailing you asking things like ‘how do I get this girl’ or ‘how do I do this’. As hard as you try to answer, it’s impossible to give them a solution because all your skills with women has been an accumulation of trial and error experiences over a long period of time and real life experience isn’t something you can give someone, unlike a helpful tip.

    • Will Legend on February 20, 2014

      Thanks for the comment, and I definitely agree. Every interaction is different. You’re a different person than the person telling you how to use Tactic A or Tactic B. The person you have an interaction is a different person than the person that Tactic A worked on. Of course, there’s general rules that work, but it’s damn near impossible to just soak in a couple hours of knowledge and suddenly be an expert. It takes lots of time and trial and error experiences to 1) continue to learn about women, and 2) apply the knowledge.

  4. Xylem on March 11, 2014

    Exactly! I absolutely agree with your post. I do believe gaining much experience will let you be ahead of everything.=D